State Homeless Coordinator Quits
By Michael Levine and Chad Blair
January 6, 2012
|Chad Blair/Honolulu Civil Beat Father Marc Alexander addresses House tourism in Feb. 2011.|
HONOLULU — Hawai'i's homeless coordinator resigned "to attend to personal matters" two days after he was asked to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct as a priest, according to an anti-religion activist.
Marc Alexander's resignation was announced in a press release by the governor's office at about 3:15 p.m. A few hours later, Mitch Kahle of Hawai'i Citizens for the Separation of State and Church put out a press release saying that a former parishioner and employee of Alexander's church had accused him of sexual misconduct.
Alexander was sent a letter dated Jan. 3 asking him to respond to the allegations and notifying him that email messages had been sent to both the governor and attorney general, Kahle said.
The woman's identity was not revealed, but Kahle told Alexander in the letter that he was confident both he and Bishop Larry Silva were aware of her identity.
Alexander's resignation from his state post is effective Friday, according to the governor's press release. Alexander, 53, did not respond to calls from Civil Beat. He was not quoted in the press release announcing his departure.
Lynn Heirakuji, director of the Governor's Hawai'i Fair Share Initiative, will take over responsibility for the Hawai'i Interagency Council on Homelessness in the interim.
According to copies of emails shared by Kahle, the governor was notified on Dec. 20 that Alexander had been implicated in "numerous alleged incidents of sexual misconduct and other inappropriate behavior while he was a priest and the Vicar General of the Honolulu diocese."
Alexander was among the leaders of the anti-civil union movement in his role as vicar general, and his alignment with the liberal Abercrombie, who signed civil unions into law, was a surprise when he resigned from the church on Jan. 20, 2011, to accept the homeless coordinator job.
Kahle alleges that Silva shouldn't have been surprised by Alexander's resignation, given that the woman had given the bishop a letter detailing her complaint on Oct. 26, 2010. Silva could not be reached for comment.
Kahle wrote the governor: "According to his accusers, Father Marc had numerous sexual affairs during his tenure with the church. His alleged treatment of victims, some young and barely achieving the legal age of consent, represents a shocking debasement of human morality. Making matters worse, Bishop Silva was informed of the allegations against Father Marc and sought to keep everything 'confidential' within his office. It appears from reading these letters and email, some in fact signed by Bishop Silva, that, following an internal Church investigation, Father Marc was sent to the Saint Luke Institute in Silver Springs, Maryland, for sex abuse treatment."
An attempt to reach the institute was unsuccessful, but typically such matters are confidential.
Kahle said he notified the governor of his concern about Alexander immediately after his appointment was announced. He asked the governor to place Alexander on leave while investigating the allegations.
However Donalyn Dela Cruz, spokeswoman for the governor, said the governor did not learn of the allegations until Kahle reached out recently.
"We're not going to comment on allegations or accusations," Dela Cruz said. "What we do know is that Marc told the governor that he needed to resign due to personal reasons."
Kahle, a well-known activist who has gone after the Hawaii Legislature and Honolulu Hale to end their invocations, also forwarded a letter to Attorney General David Louie dated Dec. 30, 2011, thanking him for responding to his concerns about the allegations. A spokesman for the attorney general said he would look into questions about the matter from Civil Beat.
The letter to Louie says the woman has "telephone records and intimate messages exchanged between her and Father Marc." It also says that Alexander "bragged about numerous sexual affairs, including one with a high school student, although he claimed the girl was of 'the legal age for consent in the state of Hawai'i.'"
The letter alleges Silva urged the woman to remain silent. It also states that the woman notified the governor in two emails about her allegations immediately after Alexander was appointed.
The letter raises the concern that in his role as homeless coordinator Alexander was in a position to have direct interaction with the homeless, and that he could be a sexual predator.
Kahle told Civil Beat that the woman approached him and provided documents and emails, as well as Silva's private cell phone number, which turned out to be correct. He said she is 16 years younger than Alexander.